As we age, we all get more aches and pains than we did in our younger years. And one of the most common places we get these aches and pains is in our knees.
So it should not be surprising that knee replacement surgeries are so common. But what do knee replacements costs?
That’s what we’re going to look at here. We’ll explore what factors affect the cost of knee replacements. And we’ll also look at some average costs of knee replacement surgery in the United States. Lastly, we’ll examine options to save 50% – 80% on the cost of knee replacements.
Factors That Affect Knee Replacement Costs
There is no exact price tag on a knee replacement. The cost can vary quite a bit. And will depend on a number of factors. Let’s look at some of the most common ones:
Surgical Approach/Type of Knee Implants
As you might know, not all knee replacements are the same. They’ll use different types of implants/materials.
Surgeons can take different approaches. And some approaches require customize surgical equipment. Some may also use specialized computer technology. All these things have different costs associated with them.
The costs of a hospital stay can add up quickly. So a big part of the cost of knee replacement is how long you have to stay in the hospital. The more days of hospital recovery time, the higher the costs. The type of knee replacement – total, partial or bilateral (more on these in a minute) goes a long way in determining how long your recovery will be.
If you have other existing medical conditions, you might need extra care in the hospital. Or you might require additional precautions during the surgery which will add to your total bill
The length of time you spend in the operating room also contributes to your total bill. This is highly related to the previous factors (type of replacement and existing conditions).
There will be instances where other unanticipated care or equipment will be required. This will most likely happen when you experience any complications during your stay in the hospital.
Talk With Your Knee Replacement Specialist
With these factors in mind, it’s important to have a long and detailed chat with your surgeon regarding the costs. Understand what options you have, what your health insurance may cover, payment plans the medical group offers, etc.
Average Costs of Knee Replacement Surgery
Total Knee Replacement
Total knee replacements (also known as TKR) are performed on knees affected by arthritis and/or injury. More the 600,000 are performed in the US each year.
The average cost for a total knee replacement in the US is around $49,500. This includes fees for the hospital, surgeon and operating room/recovery staff.
Partial Knee Replacement
Partial knee replacement (or PKR) is an alternative to TKR. It’s used when the damage is limited to a specific part of the knee.
PKRs require shorter hospital stays so typically cost 10% to 20% less than TKR.
Additional Costs For Knee Replacements
The costs above, unfortunately, are not the whole picture. Often there are inpatient charges when you’re in the hospital.
For inpatients, this will add an additional $7,500 to the bill on average. That brings the average total charge of $57,000 for a TKR.
Fortunately, a lot of hospitals provide discounts for those who do not have private health insurance or Medicare.
It is important to ask the hospital about a possible discount or an affordable payment plan before you schedule your surgery. This will help you plan ahead and work on a budget.
There are also post-surgery care costs to consider. After a knee replacement surgery, you will need to undergo rehab to get back to full health. You will also likely need to do some outpatient follow up like physical therapy. On an average, these things cost $2,600 for Medicare patients and $1,700 for those who use private insurance companies.
At the end of the day, your total expenses for a knee replacement depends on your health insurance. Most health insurance plans will cover knee replacement costs (though not all of them). How much depends on your provider and plan. So review your coverage to see if you’re knee replacement surgery is covered.
An Option To Save 50% – 80% On Knee Replacements
The costs mentioned above are not cheap. Even if you have health insurance, the costs can add up quickly.
This is why many people consider getting knee replacement overseas. The top countries for this are Mexico, India and Taiwan. Getting a knee replacement overseas may save you 50% – 80%.
But the savings do come at a cost. Getting surgery performed overseas can be risky. So if you’re looking into this option, make sure you only look at places accredited by the Joint Commission International. This group will help you find a medical facility with accredited doctors and high standards of care.
Learn more about this procedure in our article about the myths of knee replacement here.